Tagged: BSA

Hip to Be Square: 1951 Ariel Square Four

1951 Ariel Square Four L Front

By the 1970s, four-cylinder powerplants were dime-a-dozen in the motorcycling world. Formerly found only in high-end exotic machines like this Ariel Square Four, they’d become a characteristic of the generic “Universal Japanese Motorcycle.” But in the 1950s, a four-cylinder engine was something to brag about.

These days, inline and V4 configurations are common, but the Ariel used an unusual “square” configuration not often seen outside two-stroke race-replicas like the Suzuki RG500 Gamma. As you’d expect, the square four is really a pair of parallel-twins, each with its own crankshaft, geared together and sharing a head. This makes for a compact motor that slotted easily into existing frames, but one with the inherent cooling problems that result from limited airflow to the rear cylinders.

1951 Ariel Square Four R Engine

Introduced in 1931, the engine was significantly overhauled in 1937: in a seeming step backwards overhead cams were changed to pushrods, but the heads and barrels were changed from iron to aluminum and displacement increased significantly from 500cc’s to almost 1000. Reliability was increased and the character suited the bike’s mission: while performance was impressive with over 90mph possible, it was smooth and very torquey, a “gentleman’s express.” Production continued until 1959.

1951 Ariel Square Four R Rear

Today’s example looks to be in very nice cosmetic condition, but has been off the road for a while and will need some work to set it right.

From the original Craigslist post: 1951 Ariel Square Four for Sale 

You won’t see one like this every day… A MAGNIFICENT 1951 Ariel Square four 1000cc with a 1954 engine (four pipe manifold). Check the photos. One of the world’s best motorcycles ever from that decade. Much in the way of papers, manuals and history information available. After its long rest it will require some freshening before an outing, but it’s all do’able. The price has been reduced to $16300. Call for further information and an appointment to view.

This vehicle is currently Cal licensed , clear titled, and on non-op status.

The seller is asking a bit less than I’ve seen for nice Square Fours recently, and the mention of it being “reduced” suggests that interest has been low. I’m wondering if the updated engine is causing issues for fans of originality, or if the possible headache of getting this bike on the road is putting buyers off. The seller doesn’t mention why the change to the later powerplant was made, but certainly the performance benefits should be worth the update for fans of function, and the later exhaust manifold shows off the bike’s four-cylinder-ness proudly, whereas the original could be mistaken for a big parallel twin. The seller also doesn’t mention exactly what it might need, if anything other than usual, to get it back on the road as “its long rest” isn’t really quantified, but cosmetically, the bike appears to be complete and in good shape.

-tad

1951 Ariel Square Four Front

Unrestored Beeza: 1969 BSA 650 Lightning for Sale

1969 BSA Lightning R Side

Designed as BSA’s versatile all-rounder, the A65 Lightning had twin-carbs compared to the Thunderbolt’s single-carb set up for improved performance at high rpm. It was considered the more conservative choice when compared to the competing Triumph Bonneville, although the flashy chrome tank panels look pretty striking today. Even though BSA and Triumph were technically owned by the same parent company by this point, clear attempts were made to create distinct brand identities for the Lightning and Bonneville, with a more “reliable” image for BSA, though such things are relative…

1969 BSA Lightning L Front Lamp

With similar displacements, power and performance were closely matched: the undersquare Triumph motor was a bit more torquey than the slightly oversquare BSA and both were OHV engines with the BSA featuring more modern “unit” construction behind those distinctive egg-shaped cases. Period riders often slotted the Triumph’s more easily-tuned engine into the lightweight, rigid BSA frame to create the TriBSA, a bike in the spirit of the more well-known Triton.

1969 BSA Lightning L Side Tank

The BSA’s 654cc twin put 52hp through a four-speed gearbox and was good for 108mph. Unfortunately, although the oversquare BSA was revvier, it was still a big parallel twin and using the higher revs broke bulb filaments with irritating regularity when chasing that power.

From the original eBay listing: 1969 BSA 650 Lightning for Sale

I am offering for sale this original and unrestored 1969 BSA 650 Lightning.  I received the bike in non running condition, with a 12 inch over extended front end, after market head light and brackets and one shorty muffler. The engine turned over with weak compression , but smoothly. The odometer indicated just over 2000 miles, and it`s last state inspection sticker was from 1974. The tires were original Dunlop `Made in England ` K70`s and the wheels were badly rusted on the bottom side from having been buried in earth. the bike had been in a barn, but apparently with a wet muddy floor. I proceeded to disassemble most of the bike , with the intent of leaving it as original as I could. I replaced the wheels with other ones from my stock, and cleaned and greased the wheel bearings. There is an almost new Asian K70 replica tire on the rear, and an original K70 on the front with good tread but has some sidewall checking. I sourced an original 1969 BSA front end with all correct components from my inventory, disassembled and cleaned it thoroughly and reassembled with new seals and all good component parts. I cleaned and polished all of the chrome parts to the best of my ability, and rubbed out the original vintage custom paint, which had apparently been done when the bike was still fairly new. I removed the top end, and found the rings to be stuck in the ring lands, and some rust in a couple of valve seats causing the low compression. The bottom end was clean and tight and still wet with oil from 1974 so decided not to disassemble it. I removed and thoroughly cleaned the pistons, and replaced them with new Hastings rings, honed the cylinders, replaced all gaskets, and removed, reseated and replaced the valves. Everything looked good. crankshaft end play is minimal and timing side bush shows minimal wear.(.002 clearance measured with a feeler gauge.) I also removed, cleaned thoroughly and replaced the oil pump, entire transmission, and primary drive and clutch assembly. I installed a very nice set of vintage Bates cocktail shaker megs with no baffles. They have a very pleasing exhaust note, but not annoyingly loud.

The end result is a bike which starts right up on one or two kicks, runs strong and smoothly, has good clutch action and shifts cleanly through all of the gears, does not smoke, and leakage is very minimal. (chain oiler drips as it should). It is clean and looks presentable, but surely no show bike or trailer queen. It has it`s fair share of ‘patina’ which is the cool way of saying worn chrome and paint, but is well sorted mechanically and electrically. I have no way of knowing if the odometer mileage is correct, although the bike appeared to have low miles. 

1969 BSA Lightning R Side Engine

There’s plenty of pitting and mild corrosion as described, but all that could be repaired if the new owner desired and the bike would work well as a rolling-restoration, since the issues are all cosmetic: as can be seen from the video, the bike starts and runs well, with a nice British twin snarl. There are no bids yet with plenty of time left on the auction, so I’ve no idea if this bike is realistically priced, but this looks like a very nice, rideable example of a late 60’s British icon.

-tad

1969 BSA Lightning R Side Front

Brooklands Bomber: 1960 BSA Gold Star for Sale

1960 BSA Gold Star R Front

In the past twenty years, we’ve gotten so used to artificially-condensed product life cycles that it’s easy to forget how durable modern machines can be. That’s one of the things that makes vintage bikes so popular: manufacturing and technology didn’t really allow for things to be as reliable as they are today, but they were built to last, and to be owned and maintained by normal people. Just look at the BSA Gold Star: built between 1938 and 1963, it had a life span that would make a Yamaha R6 blush.

1960 BSA Gold Star L Rear

Simple, reliable, and powerful, the 500cc overhead-valve single weighed under 400lbs dry and put power through a four-speed gearbox. Named for the award given to bikes that could lap the famous Brooklands circuit at over 100mph. A smaller, 350cc version was also built and both were campaigned in both on and offroad competition.

1960 BSA Gold Star R Engine

Today’s Gold Star is obviously from later in the production run, but not much changed between the 1950 and 1960 models.

From the original eBay listing: 1960 BSA Gold Star for Sale

BSA Gold Star 1960 very original and clean has been stored for years and cannot verify mileage but I would not be surprised if it is the correct mileage. Starts second kick cold and first kick warm very quiet engine no smoke sounds very tight. the front fender has some peeling chrome and the horn is missing. Pick up from Prescott AZ will help with loading if commercial carrier is used. The motorcycle is super clean and I hate to part with it as it will be very difficult to replace.

1960 BSA Gold Star R Rear

As the seller indicates, the chrome on the front fender is peeling pretty badly, but this is otherwise a very nice example. While modern instruments may be very functional, accurate, and reliable, but those Smiths clocks are works of art! And that chrome and blue tank is a combination I can’t remember seeing and is very classy.

-tad

1960 BSA Gold Star Clocks

More Patina Than You Can Handle: 1973 Triumph Hurricane X75

1973 Triumph X75 R SideI’ve gotten into the habit of occasionally posting these Triumph X75 Hurricanes, although they’re actually proto-choppers more than they are actual sportbikes. But I think they’re pretty cool, and since they’re powered by the Triumph/BSA three-cylinder engine, I think most of our readers probably like them too. 1973 Triumph X75 R Side Tank DetailStyled by icon Craig Vetter, the X75 Hurricane was intended for the US market, and the bosses at BSA felt that the original look planned for the bike was far too vanilla for the riders on this side of the pond. He might have gone a bit overboard with the Hurricane, but the result sure is distinctive and features Vetter’s signature one-piece tank-and-bodywork, along with that fan of tailpipes along the right side of the bodywork.

Just 1200 were made, using engines set aside when BSA went under and the bike was rebranded as a Triumph. 1973 Triumph X75 R Side EngineThe 741cc overhead-valve three-cylinder engine was fairly traditional in terms of design and construction, but put out a healthy 58hp and could push the bike well over 100mph and would have been perfect for blasting away from stoplights in a storm of noise. It should also turn left pretty well, but fast right turns could prove to be a bit of a problem… 1973 Triumph X75 R Side Exhaust DetailFrom the original eBay listing: 1973 Triumph X75 Hurricane for Sale

We are thrilled to offer such a unique and rare piece of motorcycle history. If you’ve got a Triumph-sized hole in your collection and want something pretty wild and very cool, this might fit the bill. To the best of our knowledge this amazing Triumph Hurricane X75 is all original and untouched. Please review pictures for overall condition and please feel free to ask any questions.

Well I have a question: “Does it run?” While it’s nice to have a bit of the model’s history, I think most buyers would appreciate a bit more information about this specific example, especially considering the $32,000 Buy It Now price. I’m pretty sure anyone even remotely interested in dropping that kind of money on a bike probably already knows a bit about the bike’s general background. 1973 Triumph X75 R FrontThis particular example is positively dripping with patina. For many folks, originality is absolutely key, and this one’s got more originality than you might be able to deal with. To be honest, it looks like it’s in need of a complete, ground-up restoration. Mechanically, at least: many collectors want to keep that original paint intact as much as possible. Me? I’m all for resto-mods and restorations: many vintage vehicles were never intended to be collectors items or last though the ages, and were built to a price, with ugly wiring, parts-bin switches, and low-quality paint on frame and bodywork.

Is this Hurricane really worth $32,000? We’ll just have to wait ’till the end of this auction and see if someone ponies up the cash for this iconic motorcycle.

-tad 1973 Triumph X75 R Side Front

Baby Blue Triple: 1974 Rickman CR BSA A75

1974 Rickman BSA R Front

We don’t normally like to post up unfinished bikes here on CSBFS, but this 1974 Rickman CR BSA A75 is rare enough that it’s worth a second look, and complete enough that I expect many of our readers wouldn’t be put off by the work needed to turn this into a stunning, and very rare British sport bike. Rickman’s of all stripes are relatively rare, and this baby blue machine looks like it will be stunning once finished. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, even major manufacturers were still experimenting with what characteristics made motorcycles handle well, and many production bikes left something to be desired in terms of roadholding, especially when riders started to really push them on track.

1974 Rickman BSA L Rear

Enter Rickman, a typical British “based out of a shed” outfit that stressed the effectiveness of their bikes over pedigree. They sold incomplete frame, suspension, and bodywork kits that could be completed by individuals at home or by shops that supplied engines, transmissions, wheels, and electrics. Early on, they often used British twins, but many bikes that show up on eBay are powered by Japanese four cylinders like the CB750.

1974 Rickman BSA R Rear

This one “keeps it in the family” and is powered by a BSA A75 three cylinder, a package very similar to the one found in the Triumph Trident we featured recently. Designed to allow BSA and Triumph to compete with the CB750, the 740cc overhead-valve triple used pushrods and a four-speed box at first, although a five speed was later added and should be the transmission in this bike. While the architecture of the new triple was primitive, compared to the CB750 against which it was competing, the engine was no slouch, producing a claimed 58hp that made the bike good for a 120mph top speed and was much smoother than the twin on which it was based, while offering plenty of character.

1974 Rickman BSA Dash

According to the seller, this might be the only BSA triple-powered Rickman in existence, although the kit-nature of Rickmans makes this very hard to verify. Suffice to say, it’s pretty unusual. While the bodywork might look fine as-is with a bit of patina, that nickel-plated frame needs some elbow grease to return to its former glory.

From the original eBay listing: 1974 Rickman CR BSA A75 for Sale

Very rare Rickman BSA Triple CR road racer, built in limited numbers.  This bike was brought back from the UK by an Air Force Captain in 1976, but was actually built in 1974.  Believed to be a set of service cases ordered and built for the chassis.  I really wanted to restore the bike but do not think I will ever find the time so it’s time to pass it along to someone who can.

The bike is mostly complete as shown, But there will be some minor parts missing. What you see is what i have for the bike. I have started to disassemble the bike and have tried polishing the Nickel frame in a few spots and it comes up with a great shine, but wonderful patina, very easily.  I have the swing arm professionally polished to see how good a pro could get it and as you can see, it looks great!  The fiberglass is in good condition, especially for it’s age. but there are a couple of spots that need minor repair.  I did buy a NOS seat in the correct color that is included.  I believe the mileage is genuine as the tires on the bike were date code 1974 and had very little wear.  Borrani rims are straight and in very nice condition.  I have a few sundry new parts for it including a rear master cylinder rebuild kit which had to be bought from the UK.

Very rare and cool project for someone.  The Rickman book shows this bike delivered to Rivetts of London Ltd. in Leytonstone.  I used to visit this shop on a regular basis in this period so really feel a connection.  All the research I have done has not shown another Rickman CR built with a BSA A75 engine so it may just be that this is a 1 of 1 bike.

Sold as is for restoration.  Has a clean Missouri title.  I have many more pictures that can be sent on request. 

1974 Rickman BSA L Side

According to later updates on the listing, the seller has gotten some flack, claiming that the bike is not original. The whole point of these Rickman bikes was their mix-and-match nature built around customer preferences: based around a new frame that offered improved stiffness and high-spec suspension for tighter handling, the rest of the bike was very “kit-bike” mix-and-match, back before “kit” became a dirty word associated with Fiero-based Lamborghinis and oddly-proportioned “Cobras.” Rickman themselves even poked fun at this with their Metisse, which is French for “mongrel.”

There’s just one day left on the auction and bidding is up a bit north of $6,000, although the Reserve Has Not Yet Been Met. With luck, this bike will find a good home and will soon be returned to its former glory.

-tad

1974 Rickman BSA R Front

Tasty Triple: 1974 Triumph Trident for Sale

1974 Triumph Trident R Side

It’s pretty easy to imagine what sort of engine powers a Triumph Trident: a trident obviously offers three prongs of fish or secutor and murmillo-stabbing goodness, and the Trident has three cylinders of British charisma! Built with the US market in mind and designed to counter the immanent threat of Honda’s CB750, the Triumph/BSA 750 triple was much smoother than the parallel-twins on which it was based. It featured very ordinary specifications, with a four-speed box that was updated to a five-speed unit in 1971 and pushrod-actuated overhead valves.

1974 Triumph Trident L Side Front

This was good for 58hp and a nearly 120mph top speed. While the specifications were ordinary, the Triumph/BSA machine was the only game in town at the time if you wanted a big, four-stroke triple. And why wouldn’t you? Triples famously combine the torque of a twin and the revs of a four, with a funky, syncopated beat.

1974 Triumph Trident Clocks

Interestingly, BSA owned Triumph at the time and the triple was produced in both BSA and Triumph versions: unit construction allowed slight visual differences between the two, with the BSA engine leaned slightly forward and the Triumph’s more upright. The same engine would later find its way into the very striking X75 Hurricane as well, although the Trident is far more restrained in terms of style.

1974 Triumph Trident R Side Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1974 Triumph Trident for Sale

Kept in a climate controlled environment and out of a serious collection. Currently registered and road-ready. Converted to a cafe-style bike. Very rare aluminium tank, 1969 ray gun mufflers, cafe style seat and custom paint. This is not a barn fresh bike, starts stops and runs. Please take a look at the pictures and feel free to ask any questions you may have. This IS a matching numbers bike!

1974 Triumph Trident L Side Engine

The aluminum tank on this bike has a much more squared-off style that looks a bit more like the BSA’s original design: the Triumph’s tank was a much more traditional, teardrop Bonneville-style piece.

Personally, I’d swap that solo-seat/number-plate tail section out for a nice dual seat and some passenger pegs: this is clearly no race-bike, and would make an excellent platform for introducing that special someone to the pleasures of life on a bike.

-tad

1974 Triumph Trident L Side

 

It’s Only Original Once: 1973 Triumph Hurricane X75 for Sale

1973 Triumph X75 Hurricane L Side Rear

The Hurricane X75 looks like a funky, custom chopper-styled bike, but those looks came straight from the factory, by way of styling guru Craig Vetter, who was called in to redesign the bike when the original machine was deemed way too conservative for the target audience in the USA.

1973 Triumph X75 Hurricane Dash

The distinctive integrated one-piece tank cover and side-panels came in a vivid, “look at me” orange and then there’s that wild three-into-three exhaust: on the left side of the bike, there’s nothing but a bare swingarm. Then you walk around to the right side of the bike and bam, there it is, like a giant sonic pitchfork.

1973 Triumph X75 Hurricane L Side Engine

That burly triple was actually built by BSA: when they went out of business, 1,200 of the engines were put aside for use in the new Triumph although, at Craig’s suggestion, the cylinder head did feature extended cooling fins for a beefier look. Displacing 741cc, the OHV triple put out 58hp and could push the bike over 110mph.

1973 Triumph X75 Hurricane Fork

From the original eBay listing: 1973 Triumph Hurricane X75 for Sale

We are thrilled to offer such a unique and rare piece of motorcycle history. If you’ve got a Triumph-sized hole in your collection and want something pretty wild and very cool, this might fit the bill. To the best of our knowledge this amazing Triumph Hurricane X75 is all original and untouched. Please review pictures for overall condition and feel free to ask any questions.

1973 Triumph X75 Hurricane Rear Suspension

Like most cruisers, the X75 isn’t really the most practical machine, with minimal cornering clearance, at least in right-hand turns, and very limited range from the sub-3 gallon fuel tank. But that was hardly the point: the Hurricane was a glorious posing machine, with ample stoplight performance and killer looks. In fact, one Triumph executive is reported to have said, upon seeing the bike for the first time, “My God, it’s a bloody phallus!”

So basically: mission accomplished.

1973 Triumph X75 Hurricane L Side Carbs

This isn’t the shiny, well-maintained or restored bike we like to feature, but it does look to be all original. This Hurricane is obviously going to need a full restoration to make it roadworthy, but that gives the new owner the opportunity to do it right.

-tad

1973 Triumph X75 Hurricane L Side

Rare Mongrel: 1953 Rickman Metisse Triumph/BSA Mark III

1953 Rickman Metisse R Side

The famous, sophisticated-sounding Metisse actually translates to “mongrel” in French, a testament to British humor, as well as ingenuity. This bike is different than our usual offerings: built for offroad use, it is powered by a Triumph engine with a BSA gearbox.

1953 Rickman Metisse R Side Engine

In the 60’s and 70’s, motorcycle design was still as much art as science: many innovative new designs came and went, and the physics that went into making a bike really handle were still not well understood, and many production motorcycles handled pretty poorly straight from the factory. Much of the problem was the primitive suspension available at the time, but a lack of frame stiffness and correct geometry played a huge role as well.

1953 Rickman Metisse Dash

Many small shops catering to serious riders created their own frames designed to work with existing engines to create sporting hybrids for road, track, and dirt use. Among these, Rickman was one of the most successful, offering first off-road and then road-going packages based around British twins and singles, and later Japanese four cylinder bikes. Their frames were constructed from distinctive lightweight, nickel-plated tubes and many featured internal oil-passages that replaced oil tanks and coolers.

1953 Rickman Metisse L Side Detail

From the original CraigsList posting: 1953 Rickman Metisse Triumph/BSA Mark III for sale

We have a unique, STREET LEGAL Rickman Metisse Triumph Mark III for sale! This is an oil-in-frame bike, powered by a 500cc Triumph twin. The engine also features an AMAL 386 Monoblock carb, Megacycle Cams, and a Lucas competition magneto that was recently rebuilt. For better shifting, the engine has also been mated with a rebuilt BSA SCR 4-speed gearbox, and the BSA primary case was machined to fit perfectly with the Triumph Crankcase. Bruce Holland Motorcycles in Boise, ID has rebuilt the motor & there is paperwork showing the details of the rebuild. This Rickman has original magnesium hubs in the front and rear, and are laced by Buchanan’s in Azusa to rare Dunlop spring steel rims. DOT approved Pirelli dual sport tires are currently installed on the wheels. A Sammy Miller kickstart lever unit is on the bike, which allows the lever to fold in closer to the frame, along with all new cables, grips, twist grip, levers & handlebars. The Rickman frame is nickel-plated & new, plus comes with a Certificate of Authenticity that states it was built specifically for the engine – allowing it to be titled as a 1953 model, instead of a special construction!

1953 Rickman Metisse Rear Wheel

The listed asking price is $17,000 for this rare bit of kit. True production numbers are a bit difficult to discern, as Rickman generally sold their bikes in kit form to be finished by the owners or local shops. But this looks to be in excellent shape and is definitely unusual. That the sellers are a specialist classic motorcyle shop in Orange, California to me only increases confidence.

-tad

1953 Rickman Metisse R Side Tank

Numbers-Matching Twin: 1966 BSA Lightning for Sale

1966 BSA Lightning R Front

Intended as the all-rounder in BSA’s mid-60’s range, the A65 Lightning was sportier than the Thunderbolt and more comfortable than the Spitfire. A natural competitor for Triumph’s Bonneville, owing to similar specification and performance, the Lightning was powered by a 654cc, OHV parallel-twin that put 52hp through a four-speed gearbox and could reach a claimed 112mph.

1966 BSA Lightning Tank

Slightly oversquare dimensions gave the engine a more enthusiastic quality than competing machines from Triumph, but parallel twins are inherently unbalanced and BSA’s engine shook more than most: in an era before balance shafts and other mechanical trickery, severe vibration in the upper rev range would see you breaking headlight filaments with cartoonish regularity.

1966 BSA Lightning Engine Detail

Interestingly, although the distinctive chrome-plating on the tank is very evocative and striking today, BSA’s image at the time was more “reliable and conservative” than rival Triumph.

1966 BSA Lightning Clocks

From the original eBay listing: 1966 BSA Lightning for Sale

Meticulous Ground-Up Restoration by BSA Enthusiast, Thousands in Receipts, New Everything, One Owner 1966-2012, 2500 Original Miles, Matching Numbers

This 66 BSA Lightning is a two owner bike with 2500 original miles. It was ground-up restored over the last three years by a very detail-oriented BSA enthusiast, who bought the bike from the original owner in 2012. The original owner lived in Sleepy Hollow, NY and bought the bike brand new from the dealership on Main Street in sleepy hollow in 1966. He rode it sparingly, lost interest, and stored it in his house until 2012. As a result, the previous owner told me the bike only had 2500 miles on it when he purchased it.

When the previous owner got it, he assessed the bike, started ordering parts, and completely disassembling it down to the frame (pics below.) Since the bike was so original, the idea was to completely rebuild all the mechanicals, while leaving as much of the cosmetics original as possible. The frame did not need to be repainted, so it was left “stove black” with its original paint from the factory. The seat and tank and sidecovers are all original and are in great condition and display a nice even light patina.

The motor was sent out and fully and professionally rebuilt.
The bike was fitted with Mikunis and a Boyer MK4 ignition.
The suspension was completely rebuilt, as well as the wheel bearings, and he added a tapered steering head bearing.
The bike was fitted with new tires, new battery, new fuel taps, it has all new cables, and the tank was sealed.
I have thousands of dollars in receipts for all the work done, as pictured.

The bike was set up to ride, so everything was hit with blue loctite. The stock handlebars were kept, since they are so comfortable to ride with and make the bike easy to wheel around the garage. The bike starts up easily from dead cold on one or two kicks. Remarkably, it doesn’t even leak any oil (and yes, there’s oil in it.)

All the electrics function properly. Because of the new tires and freshly rebuilt suspension, the bike is the best riding Lightning we’ve had. It feels very tight going down the road, loves to corner, and exhibits very little vibration. The new owner put just over 500 indicated miles on the bike since the rebuild and told me he wouldn’t hesitate to ride the bike anywhere. We’ve sold 5 Lightnings in the last year and this one is the most impressive.

With this bike you get excellent preservation-class cosmetics with the security of thousands in receipts that come with the bike that show a total overhaul. The previous owner was very particular about the bike and any conversation I had with him about it seemed to last at least half an hour or more while he went over all the minute technical details of the restoration.

The bike comes with a perfectly preserved original 1966 BSA owner’s manual. It is matching numbers.

1966 BSA Lightning Seat

Take a look at the particularly nice video of the bike riding around its current home in Brooklyn, NY: you can really hear that classic twin snarl.

There are “survivors” with tons of originality and patina. But something like this, a ground-up restoration by experts with minor updates to improve reliability and function is more in line with what I would want in a dream bike. And the bike doesn’t appear to have been “over-restored”: some bits still in excellent condition were even left with their original paint to give the bike a bit of a lived-in feel.

I don’t follow the prices on these, so I wouldn’t hazard a guess as to where that reserve is set. But it’s obvious that, if you’re looking for a really nice Lightning to own and cherish and ride, this is one to watch.

-tad

1966 BSA Lightning L Side

Brooklands Bomber: 1954 BSA Gold Star for Sale

1954 BSA Gold Star R Front

Built between 1938 and 1963, the BSA Gold Star is the classic British single and one of the most desirable classic sportbikes of all time. Displacing approximately 500cc, the alloy OHV-powered single weighed 380 lbs dry and featured a 4-speed gearbox. The “Gold Star” name commemorates a BSA that lapped the famous Brooklands racing circuit at over 100mph and was awarded the gold star pin to commemorate the achievement, although that original machine was a racing special running on alcohol with a 13:1 compression-ratio that might have made daily use a bit of a chore…

1954 BSA Gold Star L Rear

The first road bike to wear the Gold Star name displaced 496cc and was built up until the outbreak of World War II. Postwar, BSA introduced a 348cc version of the Gold Star, and this lightweight, basically hand-built hot rod was successful in a number of different competition classes, including both on-road and offroad racing. A 500cc version was reintroduced in 1950 and built alongside the 350 until 1956, when the 350 was discontinued.

1954 BSA Gold Star Clocks

This Gold Star features the optional “CB” engine with a slightly different appearance but, more importantly, reinforced internals for increased performance. This exact bike dyno’d at 38.2 bhp when new: Gold Stars were tested at the factory before being delivered to verify performance of each machine.

The seller includes quite a bit of history, along with maintenance and restoration history. From the original eBay listing: 1954 BSA Gold Star for Sale

History: Included documentation as provided by the Gold Star Owners Club, Great Britain Registrar shows that this bike dispatched to Hap Alzina, USA in Clubman trim on 4 December 1954 with engine number CB34GS308 and frame number CB32 1694.  A copy of the original factory Engine Brake Test is also supplied and shows this bike was tested in clubman configuration and produced a maximum B.H.P. of 38.2 at 6500 rpm fitted with a GP carb on Oct 21, 1954.

Also included in the auction is the original Lucas Mag/Dyno with new points installed.  There is nothing wrong with this mag/dyno.  I ran the bike with the Lucas installed for approximately 300 miles before installing the BTH.  I installed the BTH because I wanted the ability to set timing and forget about it and the advance curve.  I ran a BTH in my Velocette and loved it.  Note that the tag (see pics) on the BTH indicates Lucas.  BTH Components goes out of their way to retain authenticity in appearance.  The BTH is solid state and makes starting a breeze and allows the bike to idle nicely with the monobloc installed.  The TT carb is a racing carb and does not have an idle adj/stop screw, however, when up to running temp the bike does idle nicely with the TT.  There is also an original BSA tool kit included.  I did not take pics of the tool kit but can do upon request.

I installed the Nova Racing gear cluster because I was unhappy with the ratios of the original scrambler box in the rolling hills here in Northern California.  It doesn’t get any sweeter than a Nova 5 spd.  The clutch plates are near new with very little use.  I have put less than 1500 miles on the bike since installing the TT carb, Nova 5 spd, and BTH mag. 

This is essentially a new CB34 Gold Star with original engine and frame numbers as shipped from the factory in 1954.  The bike has been well cared for and is in pristine condition.  The title is clear and in my name.  It is registered in the state of California and expires in Feb this year.  I will most likely non-op the bike if it does not sell before Feb 16 as I am unable to ride it due to health issues. 

1954 BSA Gold Star L Front

Bidding is up to $15,000 with several days left on the auction. Gold Stars have held their value very well, and this one looks to be in nearly perfect condition with very desirable upgrades. They’re always in demand: if you’re a fan of classic British iron, you probably lust after a Gold Star… They embody everything people love about classic bikes: they’re fun, characterful, and involving. Parts are available to keep them running and they sound the part, with enough performance to make a weekend ride rewarding.

-tad

1954 BSA Gold Star R Side